A Long Time Ago, On a Web Server Far, Far Away…

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Apple web server

As you may be aware, Apple announced a shiny, new line of remarkable-looking, high-end Mac Pros at last week’s WWDC. While they certainly appear to be impressive hardware, it was the many comparisons drawn between them and Darth Vader that had me chuckling.

I saw them variously described as the ‘Sith Lord’s tissue box’, the ‘Dark side’s coffee cup’ and ‘Darth’s trashcan’. Let’s face it, with all those glossy black, geometric curves and that finely-honed engineering, it doesn’t require a huge leap of imagination to make that connection.

But I don’t think the comparisons end even there…

Have you seen Apple’s new corporate headquarters? Don’t tell me that’s not the ‘Death Star v0.1. alpha’.

Apple's new Cupertino Headquarters

Sure, the plans they’re pushing though Cupertino City Council are all about the ‘jobs, trees and bike paths’. But give it a few years and mark my words: that thing will be snuffing out rebel alliance planets left and right.

There’s no denying it. Apple Inc is a ruthlessly efficient, high-tech and supremely well-funded empire. Sound at all familiar? So, as a webgeek and long-time Star Wars fan, it got me a-thinking…

If web languages/technologies were Star Wars characters, who would they be?

So, for my own entertainment (and hopefully yours) here’s my personal take on the subject, followed by tongue-in-cheek explanations.

On a Web Server Far, Far Away ...

1). IOS = Darth Vader: With that iron-fisted AppStore control, that closed source code philosophy, and those lithe, neo-industrial design lines, it’s hard to go past Apple as ‘The Empire’.

BTW: For the record, I am an iPhone & MacBook Pro user.

It’s interesting to reflect that only five years ago most of us would have selected Microsoft here.

2). JavaScript = Yoda: It is cross-browser and cross-platform. It is both front-end and back. Flows through all, it does. Wise you must be in its ways.

3). Rails = Han: From the start, Rails guys have had a reputation for being anti-corporate and even a little cocky. Some have used the words ‘cowboys’ and ‘rockstars’. Indeed, their founder and spiritual leader once went to lengths to describe himself as ‘an R-rated individual‘. This feels like a good fit for Han.

4). SASS = Leia: “Will someone get this big walking carpet out of my way?” C’mon, That’s pretty sassy, right?!

5). HAML = Luke: I have to admit that HTML5 probably fits better for the story, but it’s very hard to pass over the Mark Hammill/HAML gag. Ultimately I couldn’t. Plus, HAML and SASS are sibling languages. Enough said.

6). Linux = Ben Obi-Wan: Venerable and respected yet but never fashionable. Mysterious but also wise and powerful. “Use the Open Source, Luke…

(I did consider SQL for its arcane magic here too.)

7). Android = C3PO: I don’t think we need a lot of explanation here. I considered R2-D2 here, but I believe androids are more ‘human-form’ than a mobile, mop-bucket bot like R2. It is true that they are both constantly referred to as ‘droids’ in the films though.

8). PHP = Chewbacca: Powerful, trustworthy sidekick or hulking, shambling mess? You be the judge. But remember it’s not wise to upset a Wookiee.

9). Java = Jabba: OK, I admit the name similarities was probably enough for me. Java’s reputation for sluggishness with its enterprise leanings sealed the deal. It’s true that nobody wants to be Jabba in this game but I couldn’t leave him out.

Of course, these are all entirely my own views and are COMPLETELY subjective.

But what do you think?

  • Have I missed an obvious one?
  • Would R2-D2 fit in somewhere? (I would have liked drawing that one).
  • Who is Emperor Palpatine? And Boba Fett?

P.S. I completely refuse to acknowledge the existence of Jar Jar Binks for the purposes of this discussion — although Ricky’s suggestion of IE6 is a beauty!

Alex WalkerAlex Walker
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Alex has been doing cruel and unusual things to CSS since 2001. He is the lead front-end design and dev for SitePoint and one-time SitePoint's Design and UX editor with over 150+ newsletter written. Co-author of The Principles of Beautiful Web Design. Now Alex is involved in the planning, development, production, and marketing of a huge range of printed and online products and references. He has designed over 60+ of SitePoint's book covers.

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